Asphodel P. Long: Athene Revisited
(WRITERS WOKSHOP, Calcutta, 1999)
If you like books for their own sake as pleasurable objects, this will surely appeal. Published in Calcutta, this book is covered in red handwoven sari cloth, which is threaded through with gold. You can tell a human being was involved in its production because my copy has the gold title printed slightly off true, and this is part of the reason why I love it. It is red as a goddess in full glory, as gold as the new sunrise at Midwinter. If you could smell it, it would recall cinnamon and spices mixed with tangerines in warm rooms where people you love best do that thing called “being alive”. And being alive, they create works of beauty, such as this. The publisher P.Lal is also the artist who does the layout and the lettering in a calligraphic style which somehow makes me think of Paris in the 1960s.
(Don’t ask why!) But, the book is not more or less beautiful than the contents. Together they make a wonderfully organic whole, which warms my aesthetic, spiritual and intellectual senses. This is an exhilarating book.
Book Review Extract
Wood and Water (U.K.)
Yule 1999 Number 69